By any standard a difficult message.
The wisdom of God is beyond our ability to comprehend.
It is love that heals and keeps us as children of the Father.
Are you ready to walk the road to perfection?
Readings: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
The commandments are meant to help us survive.
Yet, Jesus set an additional higher standard based on love.
We must be clear in our commitments to what He taught.
Will we say yes?
Readings: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Do not hide your light.
Let your good deeds give glory to your heavenly Father.
You can be the light and salt that encourages others.
Readings: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
“Love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
February 1st is the Feast Day of Saint Brigid of Kildare, Ireland. (452 – 525) We celebrate this special day within our Sunday Mass liturgies this year. The prayers, scriptures, and hymns will be those of the Feast rather than the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Jesus is the light to the nations and one who will initiate God’s coming Kingdom.
He does not speak of a place.
We should think of the kingdom as the reign of God, when His power is fully manifest for ALL to see.
“Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”.
Such is the Good News of Jesus Christ!
After being baptized by John, Jesus comes forth to begin His special mission to mankind.
Jesus is confirmed by the Spirit of God as the “designated one.” He is the chosen one to save God’s people.
Jesus made a public presentation of His ministry to portray His humanity and divine mission.
Jesus is real. He is one of us. He comes to us in his humanity. He stands before us and calls to us to come to Him and share in His ministry – to advance the kingdom of God in this world.
Are we, once again, ready to respond?
Jesus warns His followers of coming destruction, chaos, and persecution.
But He also adds that He will guide the faithful through the turbulence.
Faith in Him will save our lives, and it will merit us a place in heaven.
Do you trust completely in the Lord in times of fear and uncertainty?
Readings: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Zacchaeus had a burning desire to know Jesus, realized the obstacles before him, and went to extremes to eliminate them.
Jesus knew Zacchaeus’s heart and drew Him closer.
Zacchaeus experienced an immediate surrender to Christ.
What do we need to change in our lives to see and overcome our obstacles and deepen our relationship with Christ?
Readings: Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Jesus wants us to focus on doing what is right, to focus on God.
Pray with a heart of meekness, not with pride or a sense of superiority.
God is not in a game of ranking or positioning.
When He judges us, will we have given Him a life of service and a posture of utter humility?
Readings: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Give glory to God.
He heals us and is present among us.
Be thankful for all we have been given.
Have faith in Jesus’ message.
Is our faith strong enough to recognize Jesus’ saving action in our lives?
Readings: Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Jesus teaches us about the commitment necessary to be His disciples.
Halfhearted attempts will not suffice.
We must put off our priorities and put God’s requirements of us first.
It is so easy to say, “I will get to it later.”
There are so many important things for us to do.
Have we really done what we are obliged to do?
Readings: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
We can easily be lulled into lukewarm complacency regarding our faith.
Our guidance from Jesus is to serve Him and our neighbors.
We may find that our lack of charity results in consequences for our future.
To avoid this great reversal, we must ask ourselves: “Have I been living the mission I have been given?”
“Am I attuned to the needs of those around me?”
“Am I willing to make the sacrifices necessary to care for others in need?”
Readings: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Handle the affairs of temporal life with an eye toward eternal life.
Trustworthiness is an important virtue, in the handling of all things.
Those who can be trusted in small things can also be trusted in great things.
Jesus teaches that His laws must always come first.
Putting anything above Him, but especially wealth will put us in conflict with ourselves.
This, we cannot resolve. Can we resist the temptation to try to “have it all”?
There is always an opportunity in life for forgiveness and redemption.
No matter what one has done, Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation is always available for forgiveness.
There is always hope.
When we turn to Jesus, He will run to greet us.
We are truly important to Him and He will not let us down.
Jesus is, indeed, out looking for us, calling to us.
Can you hear Him?
Readings: Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Jesus gives us strong words to emphasize the high cost of being a disciple.
He uses metaphors to show us that the cost is even greater than loyalty to family and even all of your possessions.
Nothing can be allowed to distract you from the essential reality of Jesus calling you to the conversion of heart and discipleship.
Keep what you are doing in perspective. Love and care for your family and love God above all else.
We are encouraged to weigh carefully the dangers of making the wrong choice about who or what we really want to follow.
How much are we willing to sacrifice to be his disciples?
Jesus teaches us about keeping our self-image properly focused.
Declaring ourselves at a level of importance beyond our real level can lead to problems.
Assuming that we are “better than” someone else may lead to a correction of place by others.
It is especially important that we walk humbly before our God for it is He who positions us in His Kingdom. Treat others as He has willed.
Be especially attentive to those who have less and can only do less. Do we have our priorities straight?
Jesus warns His followers not to think they can do the minimum and enter heaven.
They need to strive to discern their God-given mission, then they must pursue it.
Reception of the Eucharist at Mass may be a passive following, if not accompanied by an aggressive attempt to live the gospel and build His kingdom.
Strength and persistence are necessary to pass through the narrow gate.
Are you committed to taking the difficult path that is required, passing the comfortable, secure, familiar one?
Jesus speaks with passion and intensity about His mission.
His mission was not to smooth over or tolerate compromise between God’s will and the preference of individuals.
Nor was it to accept indifference or a lukewarm attitude in His followers.
His mission was to challenge complacency and creature comforts.
People must make a choice between what they want and what God wants.
Jesus offered His life for His mission in the baptism of fire that was His crucifixion.
Are you willing to make the sacrifices to ignite a passion for your mission?
Readings: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB
Jesus encourages us to follow Him in faith and our relationship with others.
It is so easy to get caught up in things that keep us from our obligations to our God and to each other.
His promises must always be kept before us, so as to never forget that our salvation is at hand.
We prepare for His coming by always being good stewards of all He has given us, in wealth and talent.
What are we responsible for? Are we paying attention?
Jesus warns us not to believe that all that we have is necessarily what we need.
If greed is the motive to possess we may be disappointed.
We may be called at any time and wealth should not be our main achievement.
Our wealth means nothing to God. Fidelity to Him is all that counts.
Is anything holding you back from God?
You will find the mercy of God.
Persistence in prayer is important for you to organize your life and your behavior.
God hears our pleas for help and support.
He will not deny us what is best for us.
Have you prayed the “Our Father” today?
And Mary has chosen the better part … to listen to the Lord speak.
Martha is at work, too, but in haste and angst.
The life of faith requires balance. A balance between contemplation and action.
Our readings this week speak of the need for hospitality and yet the need to also listen to the visitors in our lives. Indeed, not to miss an encounter with God in our lives.
Do you sometimes miss an encounter with God because you are doing or thinking something else?
Jesus teaches us about the primacy of mercy.
The written law is not sufficient if it does not touch men’s hearts.
Our neighbor is anyone we encounter who is in need.
Sometimes mercy requires that we go beyond our normal path.
Can you think of who needs mercy among those around you?
Jesus sends the 72 disciples to spread His word.
He sends them to heal the sick and proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God.
We, too, are sent forward to also proclaim the Kingdom and to do what we can to heal a sick world.
There is much opposition to this mission, but we are given His protection to go forward without fear.
Can we trust that He is with us?
Jesus emphasizes the importance of proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
Disciples must put this proclamation as the first thing in their lives because of its importance.
Nothing else in life should come before the mission of a disciple.
Jesus understands the importance of other aspects of our lives as part of our mission. But He also tells us not to let those things overwhelm the core of our mission.
Do you know the total mission you have, and how to fulfill it?
The mystery and glory of God is shared with us, His creation, through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ life, death, and teaching has given us everything we need.
The Holy Spirit will help us understand what this really means to us.
It is an unimaginably beautiful gift and it is much to absorb.
If we open ourselves to the Spirit He will come to us and help us.
Are you ready?
….. But Do Not Perceive the Wooden Beam in Your Own?
Jesus reaffirms that what is inside our hearts will govern our actions.
Hypocrisy occurs when we ignore our faults and yet complain about others.
He stresses the need to examine ourselves, and change as necessary so that we can bear good fruit – that is right action.
Jesus is our teacher and we can only find the right way if we follow Him. Our thoughts and actions will not be sufficient by themselves.
Will we take a good look at ourselves and our direction, to ensure we will not fall into a pit?
Jesus gives us the way to a life of discipleship.
He asks us to develop an attitude to love, to stop judging, and stop expecting rewards for our good actions.
The Christian way to change the world does not always make sense to us, but it is the way of God.
Jesus promises a reward in heaven but also a way to live in peace, knowing that you are trying to do what is right.
Can we change our approach to situations and use God’s way rather than our way?
Jesus was the first to bring us this most common and most popular rule of life.
Similarly, we are not to condemn, judge, or be reluctant to forgive.
Jesus expects us to learn from him and live our lives accordingly.
His mission was to further the building of the kingdom and our part is to help human beings live in a peaceful and reasonable way.
Our actions can either help in the building of the kingdom or do things to tear it down.
How can we just make things a little bit better?
Can we apply what Jesus said to a part of our life today?
How do we know when Jesus is calling us?
Like Simon, we may be asked to defer our own judgment, and respond to God’s instruction.
And as Peter was surprised by the result, we may be also.
True conversion is reflected in Peter’s response: “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man”
Recognition and acceptance of Jesus’ power and majesty, bring repentance and humility.
When Jesus calls, will we surrender to him, putting aside our plans for His?